Singapore Independence Day

By | August 17, 2020

SINGAPORE. Every year on August 9, Singaporeans get together to celebrate their country’s birthday.But the National holiday was not always celebrated on this day – not earlier than the republic became independent in 1965.From 1960 to 1963, Singapore’s National Day was celebrated on June 3 to commemorate the day 1959 when Singapore gained self-government.


Six decades ago, on June 3, Singapore adopted its constitution and, for the first time in its history, became an internally self-governing state (the British still had the final say in international affairs, namely defense and international affairs).The National Archives of Singapore (NAS) recorded this momentous day as “nation building”. “On June 3, 1959, 1.6 million people in Singapore awakened to a new beginning – as residents of a completely internal, self-governing city-state under the British crown,” says its website.


In an interview with CNA, historian Albert Lau said the date was a milestone in Singapore’s history. “The achievement of self-government was an important signal that Singapore still needs additional momentum to achieve its goal of liberation from colonial rule,” said an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore.




The 1959 general election was supposed to determine who would lead Singapore in this new period of internal self-government, but this was important for another reason: this was the first time that voting became compulsory.Ngozi Wen-Qing, an assistant professor at Nanyang University of Technology, told CNA that this is the moment when “mass politics” reached Singapore.


According to The Chronicles of Singapore, a book published jointly with the National Library Board of Singapore, 51 seats were offered in this election, and the PNP fought for them against similar Singapore People’s Alliances (SPA), led by Chief Minister Lim. Yu Hawk, United Malay National Organization (Smart) and the Workers’ Party founded by David Marshall, Singapore’s first chief minister.Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, in his memoir A Singapore Story, says that polls were closed at 20:00 on May 30, 1959, and the vote count began at 21:00 and ended at 2:45 the next morning.


Ultimately, PAP won 43 of 51 contested spots, while SPA won four, including the successful Lim vs. Marshall fight in Cairnhill, and Cleverly finished three. The remaining place was taken by independent A.P. Rajah.




In the immediate aftermath of the election victory, Lee and his colleagues focused on the release of eight people associated with PAPs detained under the Public Security Law. This meant that Lee and his cabinet would not be sworn in until June 5th.


Eight men were K.V. Devan Nair (third President of Singapore), Lim Chin Xiong, Fong Su Xuan, S. Woodhull, Chan Tiav Tor, James Puthyuri, Chan Chong Keen and Chen Sai James.


These were the union leaders who were among the 234 people detained by the government in 1956 following the riots in China’s high school. As a result, they were released on June 4, 31 months after their arrest.


In his memoir, Mr. Lee shared why the release of the G-8 takes precedence over the swearing-in: “We gave serious thought ahead of the election and concluded that Lim Chin Xiong and company should be released from prison before being sworn in. office, otherwise we will lose all trust. ”


Dr. Ngoe said: “Before the 1959 elections, the PAP promised to release them. And after they won this election, Lee Kuan Yew postponed taking office in order to get this release … so this is important for the authority of the PAP. ”


Sir William Good, the last governor of Singapore who then became its first Jan di Pertuan Negara (head of state), did not agree with the delay, especially after Lim Yoo Hock stepped down from his post as Chief Minister when he learned that his party had lost … elections. But Mr. Lee stood his ground.


However, Sir William did not wait. He proclaimed and adopted a new constitution on June 3. That is why two days passed between the recognition of Singapore as a self-governing state and the swearing-in of new leaders.

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